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Q: HIJACK OF MY EMAIL ACCOUNT ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: geof-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 20 Jan 2003 14:22 PST
Expires: 19 Feb 2003 14:22 PST
Question ID: 146124
I recently found my Yahoo email inbox inundated with returned emails
that I had never sent out. It appears that my email identity had been
hijacked by a web site which had used it to send out a junkmail
advertising some scam or another. Obviously it's a bit of a nuisance
zapping all the returned emails; but leaving that aside, how worried
should I be about this episode? I've now changed my Yahoo (and other)
password - is that sufficient?
Answered By: tutuzdad-ga on 20 Jan 2003 15:47 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear geof-ga;

Thank you for allowing me an opportunity to answer your interesting

Check your SENT folder, your OUTBOX folder and your DELETED folder. If
you find copies of outbound messages to the people who are bouncing
emails back to you, then yes, it’s possible that someone may have
obtained your password and may have been using your email account. 

If no copies of outbound messages to the people who are bouncing
messages back to you can be found, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.
While changing your password often is always a good practice when
using these free email programs, except as a preventative measure
against someone actually trying to grain access to your account this
really has little impact on your security. My suspicion is that one or
both of these scenarios is responsible:

Someone (possibly a spammer) has seen or coincidentally assumed your
email address as his fake return address in order to keep himself out
of trouble. Most providers have strict rules against the sending of
spam and will shut someone down if they think they are spamming
others. The best way for a spammer to raise suspicion with his
provider and get himself in trouble if to start bouncing mails or
generating complaints. The easiest way for him to cover it up is to
change his return email address to a fake one that he’s made up (or
one he’s seen somewhere) and let the bounces and complaints go there
rather to than his own provider.

The other scenario is that you have left, sent gave or otherwise
disclosed your email address to someone in your Internet travels (via
email, sign ups, memberships, online ordering, etc.) and one or more
of the people who have your address also has a virus (I’m not talking
about YOU now, I’m talking about these former recipients). Some
viruses invade people’s address books and send out random messages to
people in the address books (of which you may be one) in an effort to
propagate and spread the virus on to others. Some viruses use other
people in the address book’s email addresses. Here is a somewhat
complicated example but I’ll try to draw the picture: TOM gets a
virus. He has 3 people in his address book – JOHN, BILL and BOB. The
virus sends an email from Tom’s computer (without Tom’s knowledge) to
John (who is listed in Tom’s address book) and indicates that it is
“FROM” Bill (who is also in Tom’s address book) and at the same time
cc a copy to Bob. This way the virus can catch 3 people off guard with
one email. If the email bounces Tom may get it back and be really
confused about how it all happened since he never remembers sending
out an email. Bob on the other hand will be REALLY confused because he
can’t tell whom the email is really coming from.

As an alternative, YAHOO offers a protection against spammers. You can
opt to turn the spam blocker feature on and these messages will
automatically be trashed when they come in. If it makes you feel more
comfortable, contact YAHOO and talk to them about it, or close your
email account, open a new one and start over anew.

Below you will find that I have carefully defined my search strategy
for you in the event that you need to search for more information. By
following the same type of searches that I did you may be able to
enhance the research I have provided even further. I hope you find
that that my research exceeds your expectations. If you have any
questions about my research please post a clarification request prior
to rating the answer. Otherwise, I welcome your rating and your final
comments and I look forward to working with you again in the near
future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.

Best regards;


“How To Reduce Email Bounces - 14 Quick Tips”




Google ://




geof-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $1.00
Thank you tutuzdad-ga for your amazingly quick and full response. I
have now checked my "Sent" box, and there are no "intruder" emails in
there; so I hope that no-one has actually hacked into my system. I am
also fairly confident that this is not the result of a virus, as the
message sent out under my address does seem to be a "genuine" business
offer. I will also be following up the links you have provided, to
learn more about this subject. Thanks again.  (I am forwarding a tip -
albeit very small - as a token of my appreciation.)

From: bobthedispatcher-ga on 20 Jan 2003 16:37 PST
Another (or additional) problem may be a virus, on either your
computer, or someone else that had you in their address book. Several
"popular" viruses are going around that hijak your address book and
use it to send out mass emails that then also spread the virus.  And
they can use the names in the address book as return addresses, so the
mail you never sent gets bounced back to you!
If a lot of the bounces mention a virus, this is probably the case.

You should do a virus check of your computer.

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